ERIC Number: ED348666
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
An Existential Description of Reading Methods and Materials in the Content Areas.
Hartman, Douglas K.; Dyer, Penelope A.
Many scholars have made recommendations about how to improve content area materials and instruction, but the recommendations have been made apart from the study of existing content area materials and instruction. A review of detailed studies describing elementary and secondary content area materials and the extent of their use indicate that: reliance upon a single textbook is characteristic of all subject areas in American public schools, regardless of grade level; elementary and secondary textbooks are characterized by the "inconsiderate" nature of the writing they contain; and the questions provided in the textbooks are largely lower level, asking for recall of information. Detailed studies describing teaching and learning in the content areas indicate that classroom interactions are restricted to the classic triad--teacher initiates a question, student responds, and teacher comments--and turn-taking pattern of classroom interaction. Among implications of these studies for practice are that: teachers should use multiple secondary materials; publishers should reduce the number of questions in commercially produced textbooks; students should be given more opportunity to write extended answers to questions; teachers should prepare students for the text materials they will read; and teachers should include instructional assignments that encompass more than the acquisition of discrete bits of information. Recommendations for future descriptive research call for: development and implementation of a large-scale effort to describe content area reading practices; analysis of questions in textbooks across content areas and grades; and examination of how reading is perceived to fit within the larger purpose of a particular content domain. (Fifty-nine references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for the Study of Reading, Urbana, IL.